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NC Votes to Replace Common Core as New Disability Standards Set

By Abe Johns

North Carolina and 40 other states will fail to meet compliance with the new accountability framework for students with disabilities announced by U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, on Tuesday.

Compliance will consider not only the amount of support for students with disabilities, but those students' performance on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). The consequences for states that are out of compliance vary from additional support to financial penalties. There are harsher consequences for states that are out of compliance for two years straight and three years straight, including “corrective action plans” and withholding of “a portion of the state’s funding”.

The Education Department asserts, with few exceptions, that students with disabilities be held to the same expectations as their peers, without which these students will not reach their potential as independent adults.

On the other side of the argument, some teachers and advocates claim that these standards do not set up students with disabilities for success.

Laurie Levy, the founder and former Executive Director of Warren W. Cherry Preschool in Evanston, IL, wrote on her blog, “… [Arne Duncan]’s wrong now about being able to fix children with special needs by imposing the Common Core testing approach to their educations.”

Also on Tuesday, the North Carolina House voted repealed the Common Core education standards. The bill now moves to the N.C. Senate for consideration. While N.C. was one of the first states to adopt the Common Core standards, its support has waned as the concern of the state’s sovereignty over education has been raised.

These proposed changes in education leave many questions – Will the standards set by N.C. legislators meet the rigor of the Common Core and national standards? – How will teachers of students with disabilities meet the new accountability framework?

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